Monday, May 17, 2010


Most teddy bears are manufactured with a neutral expression on their face so that children can project their own emotions onto the stuffed creatures

William Wrigley originally started in the baking powder business - With his powder, he gave a free pack of his gum - He later abandoned the baking powder business when he learned that people were buying it just to get the gum  (In 1974, Wrigley's Gum was the first product to have a bar code on its packaging for scanning the price and other information)

Aluminum used to be so hard to produce that it was valued higher than gold - Napoleon III even had all of his fine cutlery made of aluminum

Vodka was used as an ingredient in early European formulations of gunpowder

A famous North American landmark, Niagara Falls, is constantly moving backward - The rim was worn down about two and a half feet each year because of the millions of gallons of water that rush over it every minute - Attempts to control flow and divert the water has reduced erosion in recent years to one foot per year with the potential for one foot every ten years

The first Ford Mustangs, built in 1964, were nothing more than Ford Falcons with different exterior sheet metal

Duct tape has played a pivotal role in several NASA missions. In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts used it to repair a lunar rover bumper; in 2001, International Space Station astronauts and cosmonauts constructed a kitchen table using leftover aluminum pieces and duct tape; and in 2005, Space Shuttle Discovery astronaut Stephen Robinson crafted a hacksaw for a repair mission using a blade, plastic ties, Velcro, duct tape

Infamous mobster Al Capone’s WWI draft card stated his occupation as “paper cutter” and later he carried business cards that named him as a "furniture dealer"

Golf courses in America take up as much land space as Rhode Island and Delaware combined

Hysteria was originally thought to only occur in women and was said to be the result of a wandering uterus

Amerigo Vespucci, for whom many historians believe America was named, was an Italian pickle merchant

The name PEZ (as in PEZ Dispensers) is derived from the German word for peppermint — PfeffErminZ

French maids never wore mini-skirts, stiletto heels, and fishnet stockings while cleaning house; that image originated in the U.S. on the vaudeville stage 

There are 293 ways to make change for a U.S. dollar - a dollar bill has a lifespan of about 18 months but higher denominations of paper currency last longer because they are handled less frequently -  coins in the U.S. survive in circulation about 30 years before they are slowly collected back by the government, usually through banks

Giant squids have been known to feast on baby whales

In addition to the four known taste sensations (bitter, salty, sour and sweet), some scientists now include a fifth, called “umami,” best represented by the MSG flavoring added to certain foods

Human arms have 32 bones each, while human legs have 30

West Virginia is no longer the coal-mining capital; nine of the ten top-producing coal mines in the U.S. are located in Wyoming

On November 18, 1913, pilot Lincoln Beachy did something that had never been done in an airplane before: he made a complete loop-de-loop

One of the drugs Nazis experimented with in 1944 was D-IX, a cocaine-based compound that included both an amphetamine and a morphine-related chemical to dull pain. Nazi doctors found that test subjects could march 55 miles before having to rest. The war ended before production could begin 

Only 1% of all the readily accessible water on earth is drinkable

King James IV of Scotland was an amateur dentist, and even paid people to let him practice on their teeth 

To make themselves smell pleasant, the ancient Egyptians would place scented cones of fat on their heads, and as it melted, it would dribble down their bodies, and was sort of like a modern-day perfume 

Though the Ford Mustang uses a mustang pony as an image the car was actually named after the P-51 Mustang, a fighter plane from WWII

A piece of the original apple tree which inspired Sir Isaac Newton to devise his theory of gravity is set to be sent into space.  The 4cm long section of wood will be taken skywards by British-born astronaut Piers Sellers on the next NASA mission STS 132 where it will defy gravity.  It has been released by the Royal Society as part of the academic institution’s 350th anniversary celebrations.  Piers Sellers said: "While it’s up there, it will be experiencing no gravity, so if it had an apple on it, the apple wouldn’t fall. I’m pretty sure that Sir Isaac would have loved to see this, assuming he wasn’t space-sick, as it would have proved his first law of motion to be correct."

In March, the European Union's Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office granted a trademark to two German entrepreneurs to market a beer called Fucking Hell. Under the Office's reasoning, "hell" is simply German slang for "light ale," and the other word is the official name of a town in neighboring Austria.. However, according to a March report in Der Spiegel, the applicants for the trademark have no connection to the town, and there is no brewery there, or even plans for a brewery

A 27-year-old man reported to Oklahoma City police in April that he was sexually assaulted by a man who had perhaps misunderstood the first man's intentions. According to a story in The Oklahoman, the first man had fully disclosed his "fetish for flatulence," but when the two met, the hijinks were interrupted by the second man's tying up and sexually assaulting the first man. The first man said he wanted only for the second man to "fart for me." The first man's name was not disclosed because he claimed to be the victim of a sex crime

In March, an employment tribunal in Sydney, Australia, awarded pilot Bryan Griffin damages of $160,000 (Aus.) (U.S. equivalent, $208,000) because Qantas, for which he worked from 1966 to 1982, had allowed him to continue flying from 1979 to 1982 with depression and anxiety attacks that caused him nearly to deliberately crash his aircraft. As a result of continuing to work, he had several more episodes which exacerbated his condition (and, obviously, placed his passengers in jeopardy)

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